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Winter Park is a Home Rule Municipality in Grand County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 662 at the 2000 census, although tourists and seasonal workers significantly increase the population.
It is home to the Winter Park Resort, a well-known ski resort which is owned by the City and County of Denver and managed by Intrawest. The town and resort was served by the Ski Train of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW).
Although the town center is at about 9,000 feet, Winter Park is the highest incorporated town in the United States after the July 2006 annexation of 5,214 acres (21.10 km2) of Winter Park Ski Resort to allow new on-mountain improvements. This claim is disputed since there are no residences or businesses at or above the elevation of Alma, Colorado (10,578 feet).
The area also has abundant cross-country skiing opportunities, including Devil’s Thumb Ranch. In the spring and summer, Winter Park is known for mountain biking, concerts, hiking and fishing.
Winter Park is located at 39°54′15″N 105°46′45″W, at the southern end of the Fraser Valley.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.1 square miles (21 km2), all of it land.
It is approximately 9100-12,060 feet above sea level, and is considered sub-alpine country. It is completely snow-covered for about six months a year.
As of the census of 2000, there were 662 people, 318 households, and 129 families residing in the town. The population density was 82.1 people per square mile (31.7/km²). There were 1,231 housing units at an average density of 152.7 per square mile (59.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.53% White, 0.15% African American, 0.60% Native American, 0.91% Asian, 0.45% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1.36% of the population.
There were 318 households out of which 14.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.3% were married couples living together, 5.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 59.4% were non-families. 38.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.04 and the average family size was 2.67.
The age distribution was 12.5% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 44.0% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 5.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 143.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 143.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $44,000, and the median income for a family was $80,660. Males had a median income of $35,221 versus $27,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $36,699. About 3.3% of families and 9.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
Winter Park began as two small settlements, Old Town and Hideaway Park. Old Town came into existence because of the construction taking place on the Moffat Tunnel. Hideaway Park was a village that began in 1932 and quickly developed into the fourth town in the valley. Hideaway Park was developed and built by L.O. “Doc” Graves, a merchant in the valley since 1922. Doc began by building 26 tourist cabins and a cafe and service station called “Doc’s Place.” He also installed a water wheel on Vasquez Creek to generate all the electricity necessary to operate his business.
The village grew rapidly, considering that the entire country was in the depth of a serious depression at that time. The construction of a water tunnel parallel to the existing Moffatt railroad tunnel had a positive effect on the local economy. Over a stretch of two years, the village added three more businesses — a saloon, a garage, and a nightclub — and nearly doubled in population.
On August 1, 1978 the town was founded and became Winter Park. In 1980 Winter Park grew again incorporating the West Portal Village. The West Portal Village became the home of the Mary Jane Base and various other buildings at the resort such as the Iron Horse Resort.
Most recently, the ghost town of Arrow, at the western base of Rollins Pass, was annexed into the town; this marked the beginning of the massive Arrowhead development.